The Corinthian Capital And Entablature

The Corinthian entablature may be regarded as the most elaborate and possibly the most elegant of all the orders. The frieze is flat, either plain or ornamented with bas-relief, and occupies 0.75 diameters. The same height is allotted to the architrave, in which the crowning cyma reversa, set over an astragal, tops a series of three diminishing planes, each separated by enriched mouldings. Whilst the projection of the cornice equals its height of 1 diameter, the projection and height of each of the component elements has to be precisely controlled if the sequence is to hold together correctly. A feature of the cornice is the pronounced overhang of the corona with its supporting consoles; in order to attain the right degree of overhang the mouldings below, a sequence of ovolo, dentils and cyma reversa, must be somewhat confined rather than following a more natural 45° pitch. The consoles are set at two-thirds diameter centres, another dimension not really amenable to decimal measurement, and it is desirable that a dentil should be centred below each. It will be observed that at a rhythm of three dentils to each console the dentils are about as widely spaced as can be allowed. The alternatives are either to allow four dentils to each bracket, which gives a rather crowded appearance, or to let the dentil course run independently of the console spacing, which may lead to difficulties in setting out. Mark Wilson Jones observes that the precise spacing of dentils and other repeated motifs is less important than the satisfactory resolution of the corners.21

Inset figure (a) shows alternative profiles for the upper part of the cornice, including the section of the sunk panel in the soffit. In the upper profile an additional drip has been introduced, suitable for an external order. To avoid disturbing the symmetry of the panel margin, the uppermost cyma and cyma reversa are somewhat compressed towards the vertical.

24. THE CORINTHIAN CAPITAL AND ENTABLATURE

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